Poker is a card game of chance and skill. It can be played with any number of players from 2 to 14, but a typical game has 6 to 8 players. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the aggregate amount of all bets made in a deal. The pot may be won by having a high-ranking poker hand or by bluffing other players for various strategic reasons. While the outcome of any particular hand significantly involves chance, a player’s long-run expected value in the game is determined by decisions based on probability, psychology and game theory.
During the betting rounds, players can choose to check, raise or fold. They can also exchange the cards in their hands for new ones from the deck, if they wish. Depending on the rules of the game, one or more players must place an initial amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt. These are called forced bets and are usually antes, blinds or bring-ins.
In addition to these mandatory bets, a small amount of money is placed into a special fund in the form of low-denomination chips that is known as the kitty. This is used to pay for new decks of cards, food and drinks, etc. Any chips left in the kitty at the end of the game are divided equally amongst the players still in the hand. In addition, players may make additional house rules to suit their own preferences.